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Sex scandal shadows Louisiana football program

DANNY ROBBINS, Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle Published 5:30 am, Sunday, August 26, 2001
SHREVEPORT, La. — Over the course of the last dozen years, Evangel Christian Academy has become widely known as a school where religion and football are practiced with equal fervor.

Operated by Shreveport’s First Assembly of God Church and known to locals as simply Evangel, the school has aggressively promoted its mission of providing a Christian education while building a high school football program that is considered to be one of the best in the nation.

From the pronouncements of church pastor and offensive coordinator Denny Duron, who has called the school’s supporters “fanatics for almighty God,” to the football stadium scoreboard, which touts the Eagles’ various championships as well as the school’s motto, “To God Be the Glory,” Evangel makes its priorities clear.

With the 2001 season set to begin this week, all the elements are in place for more of the same. Another group of talented players has been assembled. Another state title run is expected.

But things aren’t quite the same at Evangel as summer turns to fall. Lawyers have been hired. A defense fund has been established. Wagons have been circled. (full article…)

Charges dropped against Evangel coach

Marshall News Messenger ^ | May 9, 2002 | N.B. Canson
SHREVEPORT, LA. — Charges against Dennis Dunn, the championship Louisiana high school football coach arrested in Marshall for sexual assault of a minor last May, have been dropped, Harrison County District Attorney Rick Berry announced here Wednesday.

But while more than a hundred fans welcomed Dunn back to Evangel Christian Academy, one angry woman, the aunt of the alleged victim, stormed through the cheering and weeping crowd to call Coach Dunn a liar.

Amy Van Hemel of Scottsville was quickly ushered out of the Evangel gymnasium by a Caddo Parish sheriff’s deputy.

Still shaking with rage, she vowed that even though criminal charges were dropped, her family would continue in their civil lawsuit against Dunn, the school, the church, the pastor and others. “He’s a liar and his day is coming,” she said.

On the contrary, Dunn’s criminal attorney, Peter Flowers, had said earlier that day that Ms. Hemel’s niece, the 15-year-old girl at the center of the controversy who had alleged that she and Dunn “had engaged in sexual intercourse and inappropriate conduct in excess of 50 occasions” — according to court documents — was not truthful. “The little girl simply made it all up,” Flowers said. “Today, Dennis Dunn is entitled to proclaim his innocence and his victory.”

Flowers was reacting to comments from both the Harrison County district attorney and Caddo Parish District Attorney Paul Carmouche who said during a press conference Wednesday that after a year-long investigation in two states and three counties and thousands of man hours and 80 hours of videotaped interviews with 60 witnesses and untold thousands of dollars spent — they have “no credible evidence and no corroborating evidence and (they) will not pursue criminal charges against Dennis Dunn.”